Menu
Will 3D printing really change the world?

Will 3D printing really change the world?

The potential of 3D printers reaches beyond revolutionising the printing market and into transforming entire industrie

What if I were to tell you that one day printers will be able to build homes, manufacture guns and cook food? That would be pretty remarkable progress, and to my surprise, it's quite possible.

The potential of 3D printers reaches beyond revolutionising the printing market and into transforming entire industries.

To be honest, the term "3D printing" doesn't do justice to the true capabilities of this technology. Lucas Mearian, a senior writer at Computerworld (one of CIO's sister brands), writes frequently about this topic. In December, he wrote about the first 3-D printed organ (a liver), which is expected later this year. The month before, he explored the dangers of 3-D printed guns exploding.

Both of those examples highlight how 3D printers can produce very complex products, one through advancing medical science, the other with thermoplastic materials.

If you take it one step further, you can see that once these printers can scale in size, much larger items can be built with little human labor. Construction of homes from 3D printing becomes a real possibility. (There's already a video on YouTube from a TEDx talk last year about " contour crafting" and the automated construction of a house.) But if you really want to dream big, imagine sending these printers to the moon, where they could build facilities that are managed from Earth.

Not crazy enough for you? Think about the ability to actually have food available wherever there is electricity. The food would be freeze-dried, crushed and placed into "ink cartridges." With the push of a 3D printer button, the heat it produces could cook your food.

Imagine having a 3D printer available to print replacement parts at your business or home. When something breaks, you simply download the specs and print it out wherever you are. No customer service calls, no shipping and handling costs, no waiting.

When I think of the ramifications all this will have on intellectual property protection in just about every industry, it's more than a little mind-boggling. No wonder the Harvard Business Review wrote about this last spring under the headline, "3-D Printing Will Change the World."

Michael Friedenberg is the president of CIO magazine's parent company, IDG Communications. Email him at mfriedenberg@cio.com.

Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about innovation in CIO's Innovation Drilldown.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags leadershipCIOIT managementmanagementCIO roleNetworkingyoutubeManagement | Innovation3-D printing

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments